Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Why do Muslims think that Islam is true?

Question:
There are many religions. Why do Muslims think that Islam is true.
Is there any factual basis?


Answer:

Praise be to Allah.

This is a reasonable enough question for one who has not entered Islam, but one who believes in and practices this religion already knows the blessings which are his because of this religion. There are many reasons for this, which include the following:

(1) The Muslim worships One God, Who has no partner, and Who has the most beautiful names and the highest attributes. Thus the Muslim’s focus and aim is concentrated, focused on His Lord and Creator; he puts his trust in Him and asks Him for help, patience and support; he believes that Allaah is able to do all things, and has no need of a wife or son. Allaah created the heavens and earth; He is the One Who gives life and death; He is the Creator and Sustainer from Whom the slave seeks provision. He is the All-Hearing Who responds to the supplication of His slave, and from Whom the slave hopes for a response. He is the All-Merciful and All-Forgiving, to Whom the slave turns in repentance when he has committed a sin or fallen short in his worship of Allaah. He is the Omniscient and All-Seeing, who knows all intentions and what is hidden in people’s hearts. The slave feels ashamed to commit a sin by doing wrong to himself or to others, because his Lord is watching over him and sees all that he does. He knows that Allaah is All-Wise, the Seer of the Unseen, so he trusts that what Allaah decrees for him is good; he knows that Allaah will never be unjust to him, and that everything that Allaah decrees for him is good, even if he does not understand the wisdom behind it.

(2) The effects of Islaamic worship on the soul of the Muslim include the following:
Prayer keeps the slave in contact with his Lord; if he enters it in a spirit of humiliation and concentration, he will feel tranquil and secure, because he is seeking a "powerful support," which is Allaah, may He be glorified and exalted. For this reason, the Prophet of Islaam, Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to say: "Let us find relaxation and joy in prayer." If something distressed him, he would hasten to pray. Everyone who finds himself faced with disaster and tries prayer finds strength, patience and consolation, because he is reciting the words of his Lord, which cannot be compared to the effect of the words of a created being. If the words of some psychologists can offer a little comfort, what do you think of the words of the One Who created the psychologist?

Now let us look at zakaat, which is one of the pillars of Islaam. Zakaat purifies the soul from stinginess and miserliness, and accustoms people to being generous and helping the poor and needy. It will bring a great reward on the Day of Resurrection, just like other forms of worship. It is not burdensome, like man-made taxes; it is only 25 in every thousand, which the sincere Muslim pays willingly and does not try to evade or wait until someone chases him for it.

Fasting involves refraining from food and sex. It is a form of worship, and a way in which one can feel the hunger of those who are deprived. It is also a reminder of the blessings of the Creator, and it brings rewards beyond measure.

Hajj is the Pilgrimage to the sacred House of Allaah, which was built by Ibraaheem (Abraham, upon whom be peace). By performing Hajj one is obeying the command of Allaah and the call to come and meet Muslims from all over the world.

(3) Islaam commands all kinds of good and forbids all kinds of evil. It encourages good manners and proper treatment of others. It enjoins good characteristics such as truthfulness, patience, deliberation, kindness, humility, modesty, keeping promises, dignity, mercy, justice, courage, patience, friendliness, contentment, chastity, good treatment, tolerance, trustworthiness, gratitude for favours, and self-control in times of anger. Islaam commands the Muslim to fulfil his duty towards his parents and to uphold family ties, to help the needy, to treat neighbours well, to protect and safeguard the wealth of the orphan, to be gentle with the young and show respect to the old, to be kind to servants and animals, to remove harmful things from the road, to speak kind words, to forgive at the time when one has the opportunity to take revenge, to be sincere towards one’s fellow-Muslims, to meet the needs of the Muslims, to give the debtor time to repay his debt, to prefer others over oneself, to console others, to greet people with a smiling face, to visit the sick, to support the one who is oppressed, to give gifts to friends, to honour his guest, to treat his wife kindly and spend on her and her children, to spread the greeting of peace (salaam) and to seek permission before entering another person’s house, lest one see something private that the other person does not want one to see.

Some non-Muslims may do these things out of politeness or good manners, but they are not seeking reward from Allaah or salvation of the Day of Judgement.

If we look at what Islam has prohibited, we will find that it is in the interests of both the individual and society as a whole. All these prohibitions serve to safeguard the relationship between the slave and his Lord, and the relationship of the individual with himself and with his fellow-man. The following examples demonstrate this:

Islam forbids the association of anything in worship with Allaah and the worship of anything other than Allaah, because this spells doom and misery. Islaam also forbids visiting or believing soothsayers and fortune-tellers; magic or witchcraft that may cause a rift between two people or bring them together; belief in the influence of the stars on events and people’s lives; cursing time, because Allaah is directing its affairs; and superstition, because this is pessimism.

Islam forbids cancelling out good deeds by showing off, boasting or reminding others of one’s favours; bowing or prostrating to anything other than Allaah; sitting with hypocrites or immoral people for the purposes of enjoying their company or keeping them company; and invoking the curse or wrath of Allaah on one another or damning one another to Hell.

Islaam forbids urinating into stagnant water; defecating on the side of the road or in places where people seek shade or where they draw water; from facing the qiblah (direction of prayer) or turning one’s back towards it when passing water or stools; holding one’s penis in one’s right hand when passing water; giving the greeting of salaam (peace) to one who is answering the call of nature; and putting one’s hand into any vessel before washing it, when one has just woken up.

Islaam forbids the offering of any nafl (supererogatory) prayers when the sun is rising, when it is at its zenith, and when it is setting, because it rises and sets between the horns of Shaytaan (Satan); praying when there is food prepared that a person desires; praying when one urgently needs to pass water, stools or wind, because that will distract a person from concentrating properly on his prayer.

Islam forbids the Muslim to raise his voice in prayer, lest it disturb other believers; to continue offering supererogatory prayers at night when one feels drowsy - such a person should sleep then get up; to stay up all night in prayer, especially one night after another; and to stop praying when there is doubt as to the validity of one’s wudoo’ - unless one hears a sound or smells an odour.

Islaam forbids buying, selling and making "lost and found" announcements in the mosque - because it is the place of worship and remembrance of Allaah, where worldly affairs have no place.

Islam forbids haste in walking when the iqaamah (call immediately preceding congregational prayer) is given, and prescribes walking in a calm and dignified manner. It is also forbidden to boast about the cost of building a mosque; to decorate a mosque with red or yellow paint or adornments which will distract the worshippers; to fast day after day without a break; and for a woman to observe a supererogatory fast when her husband is present without his permission.

Islaam forbids building over graves, making them high, sitting on them, walking between them wearing shoes, putting lights over them or writing on them. It is forbidden to disinter the dead or to take graves as places of worship. Islam forbids wailing, tearing one’s clothes or leaving one’s hair unkempt when a person dies. Eulogizing the dead in the manner of the times of Ignorance (Jaahiliyyah) is also forbidden, although there is nothing wrong with informing others that a person has died.

Islaam forbids the consumption of riba (interest); all kinds of selling which involve ignorance (of the product), misleading and cheating; selling blood, wine, pork, idols and everything that Allaah has forbidden - their price, whether bought or sold - is haraam; najash, which is offering a price for something one has no intention of buying, as happens in many auctions; concealing a product’s faults at the time of selling; selling something which one does not own or before it comes into one’s possession; undercutting, outbidding or out bargaining another; selling produce before it is clear that it is in good condition and free of blemish; cheating in weights and measures; and hoarding. A partner who has shares in a plot of land or a date palm tree is forbidden to sell his share without consulting his partners. It is forbidden to consume the wealth of orphans unjustly; to bet or gamble; to take anything by force; to accept or offer bribes; to steal people’s wealth or to consume it unjustly; to take something for the purpose of destroying it; to undermine the value of people’s possessions; to keep lost property which one has found, or to keep quiet about it and not announce it, for it belongs to the one who recognizes it; to cheat in any way; to ask for a loan with no intention of repaying it; to take anything of the wealth of a fellow-Muslim, unless it is given freely, because what is taken because of another person’s shyness is haraam; and to accept a gift because of intercession.

Celibacy and castration are forbidden, as is marrying two sisters, or a woman and her aunt (paternal or maternal), whether he marries the aunt after marrying her niece or vice versa, for fear of breaking the ties of kinship. It is forbidden to make deals in marriage, such as saying "Let me marry your daughter and I will give you my daughter or sister in marriage." Such reciprocal deals are a form of oppression and injustice, and haraam. Islaam forbids mut’ah (temporary marriage), which is a marriage contract for a period of time agreed by the two parties, at the end of which the marriage expires. Islaam forbids intercourse with a menstruating woman, until she has purified herself (by taking a bath after her period ends), and also forbids anal intercourse. A man is forbidden to propose marriage to a woman when another man has already proposed to her, unless the other man withdraws his proposal or gives him permission. It is forbidden to marry a previously-married woman without consulting her, or a virgin without seeking her permission. It is forbidden to wish (a newly married couple) "Bi’l-rafaa’ wa’l-baneen (a joyful life and many sons)," because this is the greeting of the people of Jaahiliyyah, who hated daughters. The divorced woman is forbidden to conceal what Allaah has created in her womb (if she is pregnant). A husband and wife are forbidden to speak (to others) about the intimacies of married life. It is forbidden to turn a woman against her husband or to take divorce lightly. It is forbidden for a woman to ask for another’s divorce, such as asking a man to divorce a woman so that she can marry him. A wife is forbidden to spend her husband’s money without his permission, or to keep away from his bed without good reason, because the angels will curse her if she does that. A man is forbidden to marry his father’s wife, or to have intercourse with a woman who is pregnant from another man. It is forbidden for a man to practise ‘azl (coitus interruptus) with his free wife without her permission. It is forbidden for a man to return home from a journey late at night and startle his family, unless he has previously notified them when he will arrive home. A man is forbidden to take anything of his wife’s mahr (dowry) without her consent, or to keep annoying his wife so that she will give up her wealth.

Islaam forbids women to make a wanton display of themselves (tabarruj). It also forbids extreme forms of female circumcision. Women are forbidden to admit anyone into their husband’s home without his permission; his general permission is acceptable so long as they stay within the limits of sharee’ah. It is forbidden to separate a mother and child (in case of divorce); to let one’s womenfolk behave foolishly (in an immoral fashion) and not say anything; to let one’s gaze wander everywhere; and to follow an accidental glance with an intentional glance.

Islaam forbids the eating of dead meat, regardless of whether it died by drowning, strangulation, shock or falling from a high place; eating blood, pork and anything slaughtered in a name other than that of Allaah or for idols; eating the flesh or drinking the milk of beasts that feed on filth and waste matter; eating the flesh of every carnivorous beast that has fangs and every bird that has talons; eating the meat of domesticated donkeys; killing animals by keeping them and throwing stones at them until they die, or detaining them without food until they die; slaughtering with teeth or nails; slaughtering one animal (for food) in front of another; or sharpening the knife in front of the animal to be slaughtered.

In the area of clothing and adornment, men are forbidden the extravagance of wearing gold. Muslim are forbidden to be naked or to expose their thighs; to leave their clothes long (below the ankles) and trail them on the ground for the purpose of showing off; and to wear clothes that will attract attention.

It is forbidden to bear false witness; to make false accusations against a chaste believing woman; to accuse someone who is innocent; to utter lies; to slander and backbite; to call people by offensive nicknames; to spread gossip and malicious slander; to make fun of the Muslims; to boast about one’s status; to shed doubts on a person’s lineage; to utter slander, insults and obscenities; to speak in an indecent or rude manner; or to utter evil in public, except by one who has been wronged.

Islaam forbids telling lies; one of the worst kinds of lie is to lie about dreams, like fabricating dreams and visions in order to prove one’s virtue, or make some material gains, or to frighten an enemy.

Muslims are forbidden to praise themselves, or to talk in a secret way: two may not converse secretly to the exclusion of a third, because this is offensive. It is forbidden to curse a believer or someone who does not deserve to be cursed.

Islaam forbids speaking ill of the dead; praying for death; wishing for death because of some suffering that one is passing through; praying against one’s self, one’s children, one’s servants or one’s wealth.

Muslims are told not to eat the food that is directly in front of others or to eat from the centre of the dish or platter; rather they should eat from what is directly in front of them or thereabouts, because the barakah (blessing) comes in the middle of the food. It is forbidden to drink from a broken edge of a vessel, because this could cause harm; or to drink from the mouth of a vessel; or to breathe into it. It is forbidden to eat while lying on one’s stomach; to sit at a table where wine is being drunk; to leave a fire burning in one’s house when one sleeps; to sleep with Ghamr in one’s hand, like an offensive smell or the remainder of food (grease); to sleep on one’s stomach; or to talk about or try to interpret bad dreams, because these are tricks of the Shaytaan.

It is forbidden to kill another person except in cases where it is right to do so; to kill one’s children for fear of poverty; to commit suicide; to commit fornication, adultery or sodomy (homosexuality); to drink wine, or even to prepare it, carry it from one place to another, or sell it. Muslims are forbidden to please people by angering Allaah; to offend their parents or even to say "Uff" (the slightest word of contempt) to them; to claim that a child belongs to anyone but his real father; to torture by means of fire; to burn anyone, alive or dead, with fire; to mutilate the bodies of the slain; to help anyone commit falsehood; or to cooperate in wrongdoing and sin.

It is forbidden to obey any person by disobeying Allaah; to swear falsely; to swear a disastrous oath; to eavesdrop on people without their permission; to invade people’s privacy or look at their private parts; to claim something that does not belong to one or that one did not do, for the purpose of showing off; to look into someone’s else’s house without permission; to be extravagant; to swear an oath to do something wrong; to spy on others or be suspicious about righteous men and women; to envy, hate or shun one another; to persist in falsehood; to be arrogant or feel superior; to be filled with self-admiration; to be pleased with one’s arrogance. Islam forbids taking back one’s charity, even if one pays to get it back; employing someone to do a job without paying him his wages; being unfair in giving gifts to one’s children; bequeathing everything in one’s will and leaving one’s heirs poor - in such a case the will should not be executed; writing a will that concerns more than one third of one’s legacy; being a bad neighbour; or changing a will to the detriment of one or some of one’s heirs. A Muslim is forbidden to forsake or shun his brother for more than three days, except for a reason sanctioned by sharee’ah; to hold small stones between two fingers and throw them because this could cause injury to eyes or teeth; to include his heirs in a will, because Allaah has already given heirs their rights of inheritance; to disturb his neighbour; to point a weapon at his Muslim brother; to hand someone an unsheathed sword, lest it harm him; to come (walk) between two people except with their permission; to return a gift, unless there is some shar’i objection to it; to be extravagant; to give money to foolish people; to wish to be like someone to whom Allaah has given more of something; to cancel out his charity by giving offensive reminders of his giving; to wilfully conceal testimony; or to oppress orphans or scold one who asks for help or money. It is forbidden to treat with evil medicines, because Allaah would not create a cure for this ummah which includes something that He has forbidden. It is forbidden to kill women and children in warfare; to boast to one another; or to break promises.

Islaam forbids betraying a trust; asking for charity that one does not need; alarming a Muslim brother or taking away his possessions, whether jokingly or seriously; changing one’s mind after giving a gift, except in the case of a gift from a father to his child; practising medicine without experience; or killing ants, bees and hoopoe birds. A man is forbidden to look at the ‘awrah (private parts) of another man, and a woman is forbidden to look at the ‘awrah of another woman. It is forbidden to sit between two people without their permission; or to greet only those whom one knows, because the greeting is to be given to those whom you know and those whom you do not know. A Muslim is forbidden to let an oath come between him and good deeds; he should do what is good and make expiation for the oath. It is forbidden to judge between two disputing parties when one is angry, or to judge in favour of one party without hearing what the other has to say. It is forbidden for a man to walk through the market-place carrying something - like a sharp weapon - that could harm the Muslims, unless it is properly covered. A Muslim is forbidden to make another person get up, so that he can take his place.

There are more commands and prohibitions which came for the benefit and happiness of individuals and mankind as a whole. Have you ever seen any other religion that can compare to this religion?

Read this response again, then ask yourself: is it not a great pity that I am not one of them? Allaah says in the Qur’aan (interpretation of the meaning): "And whoever seeks a religion other than Islam, it will never be accepted of him, and in the Hereafter he will be one of the losers." [Aal ‘Imraan 3:85]

Finally, I hope that everyone who reads this will be guided to the correct way and to follow the truth. May Allaah protect you and us from all evil.

[answered this question, sheikh Mohammed Salih al-Monajjid, from Islam Q&A]

Friday, March 16, 2007

A Unique 19 year-old Canadian Girl,


… Successfully found it ….repeating in tears…THERE IS NO GOD BUT ALLAH

Her name is Jennifer and she is a Canadian citizen...unlike most of the girls her age she has been deeply contemplating the essence of life, it's target and the role humans are to play.

I can safely say that we, in our Arab communities, may feel like strangers as far as women are concerned. A lot of them are fascinated by the false glamor that has been embedded in their minds through the western media and magazines since their early childhood.

Here is the start:

In her quest to find the truth, someone suggested our site as a reliable source to Islam, we started to explain the basics of Islam and about the miraculous Quran that has been kept unchaged for 1400 years ... we then advanced to the Quran international authenticity : Versions in China is typical to that in America or in Egypt or in any other part of the world. Then we concluded that Islam is the true religion to follow and Quran is the unchangeable word of Allah.

Coming to science and Quran’s Revelation of recently discovered scientific facts : we came to let her touch that in Quran… that in spite of the hardness and time consumed in researches together with a highly sophisticated tools and equipment used.. a man called Mohammad (PBUH) lonely amid desert of the Arabian Peninsula (Makka) stated in details a great portion of these discoveries One more Lingual challenge ..

Those the originator of the Arabic language .. regarded as its cavalier.. with unsurpassed eloquence .. amazingly stood stuttering before the simple clear wording of Quran retracting from the field .. What a kind of a challenge it is !! Flashing back : it the same kind of challenge that Christ (PBUH) has experienced with his people who were superior in medicine and he surprised them with the capability of reviving the Soul of a Dead Body.

Days are passing by:

She earnestly was contacting from time to time for more answers to a heap of queries spraining to her head until one day she put a question about the Muslim festivals and feasts .. I replied and explained how Moslims are celebrating their occasions like : Greater Bairam and Lesser Bairam …. She came to a hold … immediately I resumed …

Is it the time now?? She said : YES

I was overjoyed by her response .. but wanted to make sure .. so I asked: I mean the time to embrace Isalm !

She affirmed: “ Yes, I know what you mean”

Overwhelmed by joy as if in the seventh heavens with my heart carried away with joy : Al Hamdulilah ( Thanks is to Allah) .. We start now !!

She said : YES .

I said : “ do you mind giving your contact phone ?”.

She gave me the number.

Same moment I dialed and she was listening while I revised what I have introduced before of how to become a Moslim and told her :
Now it is time for the practical section. I proceeded and explained the meaning of the Two Shahadah ( Monotheism) and the other part that Mohammad is the messenger of Allah.

Then asked her to repeat the following :
Ash Hadu … Alla… Ilaha…. Illa Allah

Whimpering she repeated and she sound like sobbing !!

I proceeded ..

Wa Ash Hadu Anna Mohamadan Rasool Allah

With a more submitting tone she repeated and then burst loudly into tears

I inquired : “ Why do you weep? Are you feeling sad or discomfort??

She explained that these are not tears of sadness !!

I commented : “ then why do you weep? I believe that you are now in your best state and you have gained a blessing boon by embracing Islam. You have been- among billions – chosen by Allah .. not only billions of non- Muslims but of real Muslims who are no more observing Islam as their way of life .. you have to rejoice more than to weep!!

Still weeping she said : “ I don’t Know !!”

I repeated once more that she has been bestowed the divine honor… and she has been totally washed away of all her past at this particular moment and asked her to consider me for forgiveness the time she is making call to Allah.

I ended the call with a promise she will be starting to learn how to pray using the Internet facility for the time being until guided to the nearest local Islamic community that would be handling Prayer tuition.

After a while , we were engaged in a discussion .. I asked her :” why you felt like weeping last time ? “

She answered :” Really I don’t know !! I can’t find a substantial reason for this! It was the first time I feel something pushing happiness into my heart!! I felt secure and peaceful .. reality seems to be Islam .. it is settled inside me now that Isalm is the absolute truth!!“ Contrary to my happiness it comes to my mind : a lot of us has been deprived of such an elevated perceptions and affections .. Sometimes we come across the same while reading but no traces are likely to be manifest to our behavior.

We Arabs who has been honored to posses the Quran in our mother tongue and hardly we can find a real inflection or reflection of such sensations as Jennifer.

Allah has made Quran an ultimate remedy for sicknesses of both the heart and body .. besides, Islam is the salvation to mankind from all shapes of problems …

How astonishing !! you witness the Quranic Impact in a new Moslim truly and honestly signified !!

We aspire that Allah forgive and support her while going deeper into Islam.

Please don’t forget her while appealing to Allah.


---

The story was written by a reporter of Islamway.com, who was personally in contact with Jennifer until she converted to Islam.


Friday, March 9, 2007

IslamTube !

YouTube + Islam = YouTubeIslam

haha! how cool is that?


UPDATE: YouTubeIslam is sponsored by Yusuf Estes, the Muslim covert who sponsors al-Huda TV. I also found IslamTube.

Al-Qaeda Invites America to Islam

I found this 50-minute video posted on the internet about two months ago, in which the 2nd man of al-Qaeda, Ayman Al-Thawahiri, shows up briefly for few minutes to introduce and authenticate 'Azzam The American' - An American Jew who converted to Islam and joined al-Qaeda -, then the latter gives a message that lasts for 45 minutes, in which he attempts to explain and invite Americans to the religion of Submission to the God.

The video was available online to download until recently, but now I could only find it in YouTube, I don't know if it will stay there for a long time.

This is the first part of the video, where Al-Thawahiri introduces Azzam, and the first minutes of Azzam's speech.





For the rest of the video, here are the links:

Part Two
Part Three
Part Four
Part Five
Part Six


To be honest, this is the first time I actually hear about this Azzam the American guy, but when I googled his name, I got over 36000 results. (which is, by the way, almost equal to the number that you would get if you googled any regular blogger's name, including my own name!) I also learnt that he was the first American to be charged with treason since World War II !

I dunno if Americans are very loyal people to their government, or just indifferent of it.

Saturday, March 3, 2007

Letter to the UNESCO Regarding al-Aqsa Excavations

The UNESCO has decided to send a technical mission to the Old City of Jerusalem, inscribed on UNESCO's Wolrd Heritage List and on the World Heritage in Danger List, to a carry out a technical assessment of the works on the access to the Sacred Sanctuary (Al-Haram al-Sharif)...

Several fellow bloggers have posted this on their blogs, a plan to start a campaign of sending letters TODAY (the 3rd of March) to the UNESCO and ask them to assign a permanent chamber in the Old City to monitor the excavations and stop any attempts to damage the foundations of the Aqsa Mosque as an important part of world's heritage.

Following extensive consultations with all the parties concerned, the Director-General requested the mission to leave as soon as possible, probably early next week. It will be led by the Director of UNESCO's World Heritage Centre, Francesco Bandarin, and include the Director-General of the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM), Mounir Bouchenaki; the President of the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), Michael Petzel; and VĂ©ronique Dauge of the World Heritage Centre...


Below is a template of a letter that I strongly encourage You (You, reading this right now) to send on your behalf to the Director-General of UNESCO Mr Koichiro Matsuura (geneva (at) unesco (dot) org ), and Director of UNESCO office in Ramallah, Palestine - Mr. Bechir Lamine (b(dot)lamine (at) unesco (dot) org)).


--
Dear Sir,


We acknowledge and appreciate your great efforts to protect and save the priceless human heritage all over the world. Recently, we read that a group of professional investigators has been sent by the Unesco to Jerusalem to investigate the situation of Israeli excavations at the area of the sacred sanctuary of Al Masjed Al Aqsa, which we have a big concern that this may affect the foundations and lead to buildings collapse for one of the most important historic elements of this area and all over the world.

We do support your efforts and your investigation group and looking for assigning a permanent chamber near this area to monitor, announce and stop any trial to destroy our heritage either for political or religion reasons.

Thank you and best regards,

Sincerely,

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

The Conditions of "La ilaha illa Allah"

For a convert, the first step to enter Islam is to say "ash.hado an la ilaha illa Allah, wa ash.hado anna Mohammadan rasoolo Allah" which is best translated to: I bear witness that there is no deity except God, and that Mohammed is a messenger of God. God in Arabic means Allah; it is the name of God, as Arabs say.

Every Muslim knows that the key to Paradise is this statement, yet too many Muslims simply rely upon this statement and believe that as long as they have made this statement, nothing will harm them. Just like how Christians mistakenly believe that once they believe in Jesus, they will go to heaven even if they did the most horrible things.

They think they will be granted Paradise because of this mere verbal statement of the Shahaadah. There is no question that the mere saying of," I bear witness that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah and I bear witness that Muhammad is His servant and messenger," is not sufficient for salvation. In fact, the hypocrites used to make this statement quite often yet Allaah describes them as liars and says that they shall abide in the lowest abyss of the Hell-fire.

As many scholars state, though, this statement or testimony is the key to Paradise. The famous follower Wahb ibn Munabbih was once asked, " Isn't the statement of la ilaha illa-llah the key to Paradise?" He answered, "Yes, but every key has ridges. If you come with the key that has the right ridges, the door will open for you. Yet if you do not have the right ridges the door will not open for you." That is, the statement must meet certain conditions. These conditions are what will differentiate the person who will benefit from his making of that statement from the one who will not benefit from that statement, no matter how many times a day he may have made that statement.

If we study the verses of the Qur’aan and the Hadeeth of the Prophet (peace be upon him), we will find that the conditions of the shahaadah are seven, eight or nine in number depending on how we look at them. It is important that all of us make sure that we are meeting these conditions in our own lives and in our own testimony of faith. We must do our best to satisfy these conditions before it is too late and our testimony will be of no avail whatsoever. It is not simply for the sake of teaching these conditions, indeed there is no benefit to that. But it is, instead, for all of us to look to ourselves and to make sure that we are actually meeting these conditions so that, by Allaah's mercy, the doors to Paradise will be open for us by our key of la ilaha illa-llah.

These are the nine conditions of Shahaadah:

1- KNOWLEDGE (or al-Ilm):

That is, one must have the basic and general knowledge of what is meant by the shahaadah. One must understand what the shahaadah is affirming and what the shahaadah is denying. Allaah says in the Qur’aan,

"So know that there is no God save Allaah, and ask forgiveness for your sin" (Muhammad: 19).

Similarly, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Whoever dies knowing that there is no one worthy of worship except Allaah shall enter Paradise.” (Recorded by Muslim).

In fact, the shahaadah itself is a testimony. When one testifies to something, one must know what it is that he is testifying concerns. Obviously, a testimony about something that one does not have any knowledge about is absolutely unacceptable. Allaah says in the Qur’aan,

" Save him who bears witness unto the truth knowingly" (al-Zukhruf: 86).

Now this condition probably sounds obvious; if someone said to you, "There is no God except Allaah," and then said that what he meant by Allaah was Jesus, you would immediately tell him that this shahaadah is nonsense. Yet can you imagine that there is a Muslim country in the world that until recently used to have a yearly weeklong celebration to "the Gods of the Sea"! All along they call themselves Muslims and they make the shahaadah numerous times a day.

This clearly shows that they have no idea what the meaning of their shahaadah is. Do you think that this kind of shahaadah will open the doors to Paradise for them? Today, there are many Muslims who wonder why we should not accept secularism. They think that there is nothing wrong with secularism! Many of these Muslims pray five times a day and utter the shahaadah repeatedly. Yet they see nothing wrong with accepting a Lawgiver other than Allaah? What kind of shahaadah are these people making?

All of us do our best to learn at least the basics of Islaamic beliefs, the basics of what shahaadah means. In this way, Allaah willing, we will be making the correct shahaadah. We will be witnessing to the truth as we are supposed to be witnesses to it.

2- CERTAINTY (or al-yaqeen):

This is the opposite of doubt and uncertainty. In Islaam, in fact, any kind of doubt is equivalent to Kufr or disbelief. We must, in our hearts, be absolutely certain of the truth of the shahaadah. Our hearts must not be wavering in any way when we testify to the truth of, "There is none worthy of worship except Allaah." Allaah describes the believers in the Qur’aan as those who have belief in Allaah and then their hearts waver not. Allaah says,

"the (true) believers are those only who believe in Allaah and His messenger and afterward doubt not, but strive with their wealth and their lives for the cause of Allaah. Such are the sincere" (al-Hujuraat : 15).

Similarly, the Messenger of Allaah (peace be upon him) said, "No one meets Allaah with the testimony that there is none worthy of worship but Allaah and I am the Messenger of Allaah, and he has no doubt about hat statement, except that he will enter Paradise." (Recorded by Muslim.)

Indeed, Allaah describes the hypocrites as those people whose hearts are wavering. For example, Allaah says,

"They alone seek leave of thee (not to participate in jihad) who believe not in Allaah and the Last Day and whose hearts feel doubt, so in their doubt they waver" (al-Tauba: 45).

Many scholars have stated that the diseases of the heart, or the doubt and suspicions that one allows into one's heart, are more dangerous for a person's faith than lusts and desires. This is because lusts and desires may be satisfied at some time yet the person still knows them to be wrong and he may control himself and repent and give up that evil deed. On the other hand, the doubts and suspicions may linger in the heart, with no cure, until the person finally leaves Islaam entirely or continues to practice Islaam while, in fact, in his heart he does not have the true faith. The greatest cure for these doubts is seeking knowledge. It is through sound knowledge of the Qur’aan and the Sunnah that most of these doubts will be removed.

3- ACCEPTANCE (or al-qabool):

If a person has knowledge of and certainty in the shahaadah, this must be followed by acceptance, with the tongue and heart, of whatever that shahaadah implies. Whoever refuses to accept the shahaadah and its implications, even if he knows that it is true and certain about its truth, then he is a disbeliever. This refusal to accept is sometimes due to pride, envy or other reasons.

In any case, the shahaadah is not a true shahaadah without its unconditional acceptance. The scholars all talk about this condition as a general condition in the way that I have just stated. However, there is also a more detailed aspect that we must all be aware of. The believer accepts whatever the implications of the shahaadah are. This also means that he believes in whatever is stated in the Qur’aan or stated by the Prophet (peace be upon him), without any right to choose what he wants to believe and what he wants to reject. Allaah says in the Qur’aan,

"Do you believe in part of the book and reject part of it? And what is the reward of those who do so save ignominy in the life of the world, and on the Day of Resurrection they will be consigned to the most grievous doom" (al-Baqarah: 85).

This is one aspect that the Muslims must be aware of. Although it is not the same as the complete refusal to accept the truth, by rejecting part of the truth that has come from Allaah, one also negates his testimony of faith. Unfortunately, many Muslims are doing this nowadays in various ways. Although not all of these forms may necessarily be considered apostasy,they are still very dangerous. For example, if they do not like what is stated in a verse in the Qur’aan, they simply reinterpret the verse according to their liking. If they do not like what is stated in a hadeeth, they simply state that the hadeeth must not be authentic although they are not scholars in that area. This kind of behavior is the antithesis of the behavior of the true Muslims. Whatever comes from Allaah and His Messenger (peace be upon him), the true Muslim believes in as the truth. This goes hand in hand with their testimony of faith.

4- SUBMISSION and COMPLIANCE (or al-inqiyad):

This implies the actual physical enactment with our deeds of our shahaadah. In fact, this is one of the main meanings of the word Islaam itself, "the submission to the will and commands of Allaah." This is what Allaah commands in the Qur’aan,

"Turn unto Him repentant, and surrender unto Him" (al-Zumar: 54).

Allaah has praised those who submit to His command by their actions. Allaah says,

"Who is better in religion than he who surrenders his purpose to Allaah while doing good" (al-Nisa: 125).

Actually, Allaah has clearly made it a condition of faith that one submits to the command of Allaah and His messenger. Allaah says,

"But nay, by your Lord, they will not truly believe until they make you [the Messenger of Allaah] judge of what is in dispute between them and find within themselves no dislike of which you decide, and submit with full submission" (al-Nisa: 65)

Unfortunately, there are many that claim that there is no relationship between faith and deeds. You can even hear one Muslim saying about another, "That is the best Muslim I have ever met," yet the other person performs scarcely any of the deeds of Islaam whatsoever. This incorrect understanding of faith has spread throughout the Muslim world. Indeed, our shahaadah or testimony of faith must be implemented or realized in our hearts, tongues and actions. In our hearts, we must have love for Allaah, fear Allaah and hope in Him. With our tongues we must testify to the shahaadah. And with our actions, we must implement what the testimony of faith requires from us.

Anyone who claims to be a Muslim and yet does no deeds, either does not understand Islaam whatsoever or is bearing testimony against himself that his testimony of faith is not a true and correct testimony of faith. This does not mean that the true believer never commits a sin. Indeed, true believers do commit sins, but as long as they recognize that what they did is not correct and it is inconsistent with their obligation of submitting to Allaah, then they have not violated the soundness of their testimony or shahaadah. But do not forget they are still sinners. And what is the minimum of submission that is required from a person beyond whom there can be no claim to faith? For those scholars who say that the abandonment of prayers is infidelity, it is the five daily prayers. Whoever does not perform, at least, the five daily prayers have gone beyond the limit that is acceptable for lack of deeds. Allaah knows best.

5-TRUTHFULNESS (or as-sidq), as opposed to hypocrisy and dishonesty:

This means that when we say the shahaadah, we are saying it honestly. We actually mean it. We are not lying when it comes to our testimony of faith. The Prophet (peace be upon his) said, "No one bears testimony to there being no one worth of worship save Allaah, sincerely from his heart, except that Allaah makes the Hell-fire forbidden for him." (Recorded by al-Bukharee and Muslim.)

We are all familiar with those who say the testimony of faith yet they are not saying it honestly. They do not believe in it but they are simply saying it in order to protect themselves or to get some gain from doing so; these are the hypocrites. Allaah has described them in the opening of the Qur’aan with the following words,

"And of mankind are some who say, 'We believe in Allaah and the Last Day,' when they believe not. They think to beguile Allaah and those who believe, and they beguile none save themselves, but they perceive not. In their hearts is a disease, and Allaah increases their disease. A painful doom is theirs because they lie" (al-Baqarah: 8-10).

Obviously, the shahaadah of those who become Muslims simply to benefit from being Muslim and not because they believe in Islaam will be rejected by Allaah in the Hereafter. They will face a painful punishment due to their lying.

6- SINCERITY (or al-ikhlaas):

That is, when we make the shahaadah, we must do so solely for the sake of Allaah. We must not do it for any other reason. And we must not do it for anyone else's sake. In this manner, the meaning of sincerity is opposite of Shirk or ascribing partners with Allaah. We became and remain Muslims solely for Allaah's sake. Allaah says in the Qur’aan,

"Worship Allaah, making religion pure for him" (al-Zumar: 2).

And Allaah also says,

"And they are ordained not else than to serve Allaah, keeping religion pure for Him, as men by nature upright and to establish worship and to pay the poor-due. That is true religion" (al-Bayyinah: 5).

And the Prophet (peace be upon him) added, "Allaah has forbidden for the Hell-fire anyone who says, 'There is no one worthy of worship except Allaah,' and say so desiring the face [and pleasure] of Allaah." (Recorded by Muslim).

This is something that we should all think about, especially those of us who grew up in Muslim families and were born Muslim. We should make it very clear to ourselves that we are Muslims only for the sake of Allaah. We are not Muslims for the sake of our parents, friends, family or community. It must be clear in our minds that we are Muslims for the sake of Allaah first, last and only. One of the signs that we are Muslims for the sake of Allaah is that we do whatever Allaah asks of us, regardless of what anybody else desires or wants from us. That is, in the same way that we are Muslims solely for the sake of Allaah, all of our actions are done for the sake of Allaah.

However, sometimes one begins to wonder whether some people meet this condition. Some people from the Muslim world practice Islaam to the extent that it is pleasing to their families. If there is anything in Islaam that their families do not like- although their families are Muslim and therefore they actually should like all of Islaam- then they do not practice that aspect of Islaam. One common example of that nature is mixing between men and women. Sometimes a brother, here in the U.S., will not mix with women and his wife will remain separate from the men. Yet, when they return to their homes, because this is not pleasing to their families who want to mix between men and women, they easily, simply and happily compromise their religion for the sake of their parents. These people must sincerely ask themselves why they are Muslims. Are they Muslims for the sake of their parents and therefore whatever their parents like they will do and whatever their parents do not like they won't do? Or are they Muslims for the sake of Allaah and therefore whatever Allaah dislikes they will not do and whatever Allaah is pleased with they do?

7- LOVE (or al-mahabbah):

That is, the believer loves this shahaadah, he loves in accordance with the shahaadah, he loves the implications and requirements of the shahaadah and he loves those who act and strive for the sake of this shahaadah. This is a necessary condition of the shahaadah. If a person makes the shahaadah but does not love the shahaadah and what it stands for, then, in fact, his faith is not complete. It is not the faith of a true believer. And if he loves something more that this shahaadah or if he loves something more than Allaah, then he has negated his shahaadah. The true believer, the one meeting the conditions of the shahaadah puts no one whatsoever as an equal to Allaah in his love. Allaah says in the Qur’aan,

"Yet of mankind are some who take unto themselves (objects of worship which they set as) rivals to Allaah,loving them with a love like (that which is due to) Allaah only. However, those who believe are stauncher in their love of Allaah" (al-Baqarah: 165).

And elsewhere Allaah says:

"Say: If your fathers, or your sons, or your brethren, or your wives, or your tribe, or the wealth you have acquired, or merchandise for which you fear that there will be no sale, or dwellings you desire are dearer to you than Allaah and His Messenger and striving in His way: then wait till Allaah brings His command to pass. Allaah guides not wrongdoing folk" (al-Tauba: 24).

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, "Whoever has three characteristics has tasted the sweetness of faith. [The first of these] is that he loves Allaah and His Messenger more than he loves anyone else..." (Recorded by al-Bukharee and Muslim.).

This is one of the most important aspects of Islaam yet, for some reason, it is missing from the lives of many Muslims. They act in Islaam as if Islaam were a chore instead of doing things out of the love of Allaah. When Allaah orders us to do something, like bear witness to the faith, we should realize that that thing is pleasing to Allaah and, therefore, out of our love for Allaah, we should be very pleased to do the acts that are pleasing to Allaah. But, as I said, this feeling is missing from many, many Muslims today.

8: DENYING EVERY OTHER OBJECT OF WORSHIP:

Although that is clear in the words of the testimony of faith, it does not seem clear to everyone who makes that testimony. Therefore, I am mentioning it explicitly here. In Surah al-Baqarah, Allaah clearly reminds us of this important aspect of the shahaadah, the shahaadah is not merely an affirmation but it is both an affirmation and a negation. Allaah states,

"And he who rejects false deities and believes in Allaah has grasped a firm handhold which will never break" (al-Baqarah: 256).

Perhaps the Prophet (peace be upon him) made this point even clearer when he said,"Whoever says there is no one worthy of worship except Allaah and denies whatever is worshipped besides Allaah, then his wealth and blood are protected and his accounting will be with Allaah." (Recorded by Muslim).

Although this condition should be obvious to everyone who says the words of shahaadah, you can still find Muslims who say the shahaadah and then make acts of worship for beings or things other than Allaah. You will find them going to the graveyards and worshipping those in the graves. They will perform acts of worship, not for the sake of Allaah, but for the sake of the dead "saints" in the grave. What kind of shahaadah have these people made? Do you really think that their shahaadah will mean anything on the Day of Judgement as long as they believe that acts of worship may be done for other than Allaah?


9- ADHEREING to the shahaadah until one dies:

This is must if the shahaadah is to mean anything for you in the Hereafter. You cannot rest on your laurels of what you may have done in the past. No, indeed, the shahaadah must be your banner until your death. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, " A man spends a long time doing the deeds of the people of Paradise and then he ends his deeds with the deeds of the people of the Hell-fire. And a man spends a long time doing the deeds of the people of the Hell-fire and then he ends his deeds with the deeds of the people of Paradise." (Recorded by Muslim)

In another hadeeth, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, "By the One beside whom there is no other God, one of you does the actions of Paradise until there is just a handspan between him and Paradise and then the book [preordainment] overtakes him and he does the actions of the people of Hell and he enters into it" (Recorded by al-Bukharee and Muslim.)

And Allaah says in the Qur’aan,

"O believers, observe your duty to Allaah with right observance, and die not save as Muslims [surrendering yourselves to Allaah]" (al-Imran: 102).

Dear brothers and sisters, these are the conditions of the shahaadah. These are the aspects of the shahaadah that each and every one of us should look to in himself and ask himself, "Is my shahaadah meeting those requirements? Am I saying it sincerely, honestly and out of love for Allaah? Am I saying it based on what it really means? Am I denying all other false objects of worship?"

These questions we should ask ourselves now before we meet Allaah. Allaah willing, we shall ask ourselves these questions now and we shall find that we have all the right answers for them. Or, if we find we have some deficiency, we shall work to remove that deficiency. Such that, by Allaah's mercy, in the Hereafter, our shahaadah will be the key to Paradise for us and the gates of Paradise will swing wide open for us and we will be able to live forever in the bounties of Paradise, with Allaah being pleased with us.

Again, it is not simply a matter of knowing these conditions. Indeed, one can meet many Muslims who have these conditions memorized, yet when one looks to their deeds and behavior, one can see that these conditions have no effect on them. This means, in fact, no matter how well he knows and can rattle off these conditions, he, in fact, is not fulfilling them. In the Hereafter, his knowledge of these conditions will be of no avail to him. Indeed, his knowledge will be a proof against him, as he clearly knows what the conditions are that he must satisfy yet he has shown that he is not willing to satisfy them in his life.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

The Ten Misconceptions About Islam: Misconception 10

Islam produces a lazy, uneducated society because:

    • all things come from God, and so fatalism is OK
    • modern technology and science are condemned

The reasons given for this misconception are false, and the misconception itself is actually refuted directly by the Qur'an and Sunnah. While it is true that the Creator is the source of everything to us, it is not true that this can be used as an excuse for humanity to hide behind as the following verses from the Qur'an state (translation),

[16:35] The worshippers of false gods say: "If Allah had so willed, we should not have worshipped anything but Him - neither we nor our fathers,- nor should we have prescribed prohibitions other than His." So did those who went before them. But what is the mission of messengers but to preach the Clear Message?

[43:20] They (the idolators) say, "If it had been the will of (Allah) the Most Merciful, we should not have worshipped such (deities)!" Of that they have no knowledge: they do nothing but lie!

Allah has taught us via the Qur'an and Sunnah that we all have a certain amount of free will. This free will must be exercised properly in accordance with the Qur'an and Sunnah to please the Creator. This is plenty of motivation for all Muslims to push themselves to be the most knowledgeable, effective Muslims they can be. If Muslim societies today are not meeting their potential, it is surely not due to their knowledge of Islam, rather it is their ignorance of this way of life. The importance of seeking knowledge and working are made clear in the Sunnah.

From the Sunnah, specifically in the study of the Sunnah called Sunan Abu-Dawud, we find:

[9:1637] Narrated Anas ibn Malik: A man of the Ansar came to the Prophet (pbuh) and begged from him.

He (the Prophet) asked: Have you nothing in your house? He replied: Yes, a piece of cloth, a part of which we wear and a part of which we spread (on the ground), and a wooden bowl from which we drink water.

He said: Bring them to me. He then brought these articles to him and he (the Prophet) took them in his hands and asked: Who will buy these? A man said: I shall buy them for one dirham. He said twice or thrice: Who will offer more than one dirham? A man said: I shall buy them for two dirhams.

He gave these to him and took the two dirhams and, giving them to the Ansari, he said: Buy food with one of them and hand it to your family, and buy an axe and bring it to me. He then brought it to him. The Apostle of Allah (pbuh) fixed a handle on it with his own hands and said: Go, gather firewood and sell it, and do not let me see you for a fortnight. The man went away and gathered firewood and sold it. When he had earned ten dirhams, he came to him and bought a garment with some of them and food with the others.

The Apostle of Allah (pbuh) then said: This is better for you than that begging should come as a spot on your face on the Day of Judgment. Begging is right only for three people: one who is in grinding poverty, one who is seriously in debt, or one who is responsible for compensation and finds it difficult to pay.

Also from the Sunnah, specifically in the study of the Sunnah called Sunan Ibn Majah, we find that the Messenger of Allah said:

Seeking knowledge is a duty upon every Muslim.

Knowledge of the Qur'an and Sunnah are clearly the best types of knowledge, and knowledge which benefits humanity is good as well. The Qur'an and Sunnah do not condemn the study of this earth and in fact the Creator encourages us to investigate the world we live in according to the following verse from the Qur'an (translation),

[3:190-191] Behold! in the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the alternation of night and day, there are indeed Signs for people of understanding. People who celebrate the praises of Allah, standing, sitting, and lying down on their sides, and contemplate the (wonders of) creation in the heavens and the earth, (with the thought): "Our Lord! not for nothing have You created (all) this! Glory to You! Give us salvation from the penalty of the Fire."

Furthermore, there have been numerous Muslim scholars and scientists who wrote publications, books and volumes about discoveries in medicine, mathematics and even natural sciences derived from direct Islamic laws. This is only one example of them, but they are too many to count.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

The Ten Misconceptions About Islam: Misconception 9

Islam is a racist, afro-centric cult because:

    • "Nation of Islam" espouses the superiority of the black man
    • The Nation of Islam recognizes God as a black man

One of the great misconceptions of the twentieth century is that the so-called `Nation of Islam' is a Muslim community, or more precisely: a community which submits to Allah by following the Qur'an and Sunnah. The `Nation of Islam' is a man-made way of life which borrowed some elements of Islam and then mixed them with a large number of inventions and lies to reach their present doctrines.

It suffices to point out the `Nation of Islam's deviation in two areas. First, they reject the essence of Islam by concocting a story wherein the Creator takes the form of a black man. From their on-line publications, we find that the `Nation of Islam' believes in

...one God (Allah) and that Allah (God) appeared in the Person of Master W. Fard Muhammad, July, 1930; the long awaited `Messiah' of the Christians and the `Mahdi' of the Muslims...

However, the Creator states in the Qur'an (translation),

[6:103] No vision can grasp Him, but His grasp is over all vision: He is above all comprehension, yet is acquainted with all things.

The `Nation of Islam' also claims that white men are `devils', and that black people are in general superior to all other races. However, from the Sunnah, specifically in the Messenger of Allah's farewell sermon, we find the Messenger (pbuh) saying:

All mankind is from Adam and Eve, an Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a white has no superiority over a black nor a black has any superiority over a white - except by piety and good action.

There are many other beliefs which the `Nation of Islam' holds which take it outside of Islam. It is interesting to note that in the mid-1970's, the overwhelming majority of the group realized its errors and converted to true Islam. There is, however, a splinter group which remains active today.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

The Ten Misconceptions About Islam: Misconception 8

Islam is intolerant of other religions because

    • the Qur'an condemns the other religions as false

The Creator has taught us in the Qur'an and Sunnah that all other 'religions', creeds, beliefs, ways of life, and even constitutions are unacceptable to Him if a person is aware of Islam. The Qur'an states (translation),

[3:85] And whoever desires a religion other than Islam, it shall not be accepted from him, and in the hereafter he shall be one of the losers.

However, even though the Creator has clearly specified that no other way of life is acceptable to Him except Islam (i.e. submission to Him as embodied in the Qur'an and Sunnah), He has also commanded the Muslims to be tolerant of people who espouse other creeds. From the Sunnah, specifically in the study of the Sunnah called Al-Awsat by Al-Tabarani, we find regarding those non-Muslims living in the Islamic state,

The Messenger of Allah (saas) said, "One who kills a person under accord (Arabic: dhimmi - non-Muslim who is not in war with Muslims) will not even smell the fragrance of Paradise."

Also from the Sunnah, specifically in a report from Al-Khatib, we find that the Messenger of Allah (saas) also said:

Whoever hurts a non-Muslim person under protection, I am his adversary, and I shall be an adversary to him on the Day of Resurrection.

In short, Islam is intolerant of false religions and ideologies, however it is tolerant of the people who hold to those ideas, just because they are humans per se. One historical example of Muslims living up to the standard of Islam and applying this tolerance can be found from the time of the Spanish Inquisition - in which Spanish Christians and Jews were living the best days of their lives. During that disaster sprung by misguided Catholics, some Spanish Jews fled to Muslim Turkey and to this day, there is a community of Spanish-speaking Jews in Turkey. Another example may be found during one of the Crusader invasions from Western Europe. Some of the Catholic Western European knights were so likely to rape, murder, and pillage the Jews and Orthodox Christians as well as Muslims, that when the Muslims accomplished, they were treated as a liberating force by those non-Muslims, and they (the Muslims) treated everyone fairly and justly, and gave mercy upon the crusaders and allowed them to return to their homeland safely (However, many soldiers and leaders of the crusaders chose to stay in Jerusalem because of the good life they saw in there. Many soldiers willingly decided to convert to Islam after they saw the good treatment of Muslim soldiers, merchants, and citizens to them.)

Even if Islam proves all other religions to be false, it does not prohibit or limit followers of other religions from their complete freedom of worship. This is regarding the treatment of Muslims to non-Muslims in peace terms. Once war is waged by non Muslims (war cannot be started by Muslims against non-Muslims, as the hadeeth mentioned above – hurting non-Muslims who are living in peace terms with Muslims, is a great sin that leads its doer to a great torment in the hereafter. For this God clearly states the principles of freedom of worship, also sets the outline of the uniqueness of religions [that religions ought/should not be blended in each other]

[Chapter 109]

Say: "O al-Kafiroon! (all those who disbelieve in God, in His Oneness, in all His Angels, in all His Books, in all His Messengers, in the Day of Resurrection, and in destiny)

"I worship not that which you worship,

"Nor will you worship that which I worship.

"And I shall not worship that which you are worshipping.

"Nor will you worship that which I worship.

"To you be your religion, and to me my religion."

Thursday, February 15, 2007

The Ten Misconceptions About Islam: Misconception 7

Islam tolerates the killing of innocents because:

    • Muslims can be terrorists
    • Muslims engage in `holy wars' (jihad)
    • Islam spread by the sword
    • it has a harsh and cruel judicial system

This misconception is one of the most widely held misconceptions about Islam today. And yet in the Qur'an, the Creator unambiguously states (translation),

[17:33] Nor take life - which Allah has made sacred - except for just cause. And if anyone is slain wrongfully, we have given his heir authority (to demand retaliation or to forgive): but let him not exceed bounds in the matter of taking life, for he is helped (by the Law)

Based on this verse, it is Islamically unlawful to murder anyone who is innocent of certain crimes. It is well to remember at this point the distinction made above between Qur'an and Sunnah, and the Muslims: only the Qur'an and Sunnah are guaranteed to be in accordance with what the Creator desires, whereas the Muslims may possibly deviate. Hence, if any Muslim kills an innocent person, that Muslim has committed a grave sin, and certainly the action cannot be claimed to have been done "in the name of Islam."

It should be clear, then, that "Muslim terrorist" is almost an oxymoron: by killing innocent people, a Muslim is commiting an awesome sin, and Allah is Justice personified. This phrase is offensive and demeaning of Islam, and it should be avoided. It is hoped that as the general level of public awareness and understanding of Islam increases, people will keep "terrorism" and "Islam" separate from each other, not to be used in the same phrase.

Another reason advanced in support of the misconception is that the Creator has imposed `jihad' on us. The term "holy war" is from the time of the Crusades and originated in Europe as a rallying cry against the Muslims in Jerusalem. Jihad is an Arabic word meaning struggle, but in the context of many verses in the Qur'an, it carries the meaning of military struggle, or war. Allah gradually introduced the obligation of military struggle to the Muslim community at the time of the Messenger (saas). The first verse ever revealed in that connection is as follows (translation),

[22:39] Permission (to fight) is given to those upon whom war is made because they are oppressed, and most surely Allah is well able to assist them;

This verse lays down the precondition for all war in Islam: there must exist certain oppressive conditions on the people. The Creator unequivocally orders us to fight oppression and persecution, even at the expense of bloodshed as the following verse shows (translation),

[2:190-192] And fight in the cause of Allah with those who fight with you, and do not exceed the limits, surely Allah does not love those who exceed the limits. And kill them wherever you find them, and drive them out from where they drove you out, and persecution is severer than slaughter, and do not fight with them at the Sacred Mosque (in Makkah) until they fight with you in it, but if they do fight you, then slay them; such is the reward of the unbelievers. But if they desist, then surely Allah is Forgiving, Merciful. And fight with them until there is no persecution, and religion should be only for Allah, but if they desist, then there should be no hostility except against the oppressors.

As one might imagine, the method of military struggle has been clearly and extensively defined in the Qur'an and Sunnah. Since this subject is a huge one, we simply summarize part of it by noting that it is unlawful to kill women, children, the infirm, the old, and the innocent. From the Sunnah, specifically in the study of the Sunnah called Sahih Bukhari, we find:

[4:52:257] Narrated 'Abdullah: During some of the Ghazawat of the Prophet a woman was found killed. Allah's Apostle disapproved the killing of women and children.

A related misconception to jihad is often propagated by Muslims who say that "Jihad is only for self-defense of physical borders." The Qur'an and Sunnah refute this notion categorically. As the verses cited above show, jihad is obligatory wherever there is injustice, and Muslims need not acknowledge imaginary lines around the earth when it comes to upholding this obligation. The Messenger of Allah (saas) has also commented on this extensively in the Sunnah. From the study of the Sunnah called Sahih Bukhari, we find that,

[4:52:65] Narrated Abu Musa: A man came to the Prophet and asked, "A man fights for war booty; another fights for fame and a third fights for showing off; which of them fights in Allah's Cause?" The Prophet said, "He who fights that Allah's Word (i.e. Islam) should be superior, fights in Allah's Cause."

Hence, the Creator obligates us to fight wherever people are being grossly deprived of freely hearing or practicing the Message of Allah as contained in the Qur'an and Sunnah. Sayyed Qutb, a famous Muslim scholar eloquently discusses the notion of jihad and self-defense in his book Milestones,

"If we insist on calling Islamic jihad a defensive movement, then we must change the meaning of the word `defense' and mean by it `defense of man' against all those elements which limit his freedom. These elements take the form of beliefs and concepts, as well as of political systems, based on economic, racial, or class distinction."

A third reason often cited for the misconception about Islam which says that this way of life tolerates the killing of innocents is that the judicial system of Islam is unnecessarily harsh. This reason is weak in two respects. First, it presupposes that human beings are more just and more merciful than the Creator, and therefore we can change the law. Second, it is often based on gross oversimplifications of Islamic law, such as saying "all thieves get their hands cut off."

The Qur'an and Sunnah make it clear that the law of retaliation (or equality) governs us for murder and physical injury, but forgiveness is better as the following verses from the Qur'an show (translation),

[2:178] O you who believe! the law of equality is prescribed to you in cases of murder: the free for the free, the slave for the slave, the woman for the woman. But if any remission is made by the brother of the slain, then prosecution (for the bloodwit) should be made according to usage, and payment should be made to him in a good manner; this is an alleviation from your Lord and a mercy; so whoever exceeds the limit after this he shall have a painful chastisement.

[42:40-43] The recompense for an injury is an injury equal thereto (in degree): but if a person forgives and makes reconciliation, his reward is due from Allah: for (Allah) loves not those who do wrong. But indeed if any do help and defend themselves after a wrong (done) to them, against such there is no cause of blame. The blame is only against those who oppress men and insolently transgress beyond bounds through the land, defying right and justice: for such there will be a grievous penalty. And whoever is patient and forgiving, these most surely are actions due to courage.

The Creator ordained the law of retaliation on us knowing full well that we might question it. In many non-Muslim societies today, there are ongoing debates about the death penalty. In Islam, this discussion is moot: the Creator has decided the matter for us. He has however given us an interesting verse in the Qur'an which advises to consider the matter carefully if we want to understand it (translation follows),

[2:179] And there is life for you in (the law of) retaliation, O people of understanding, that you may guard yourselves.

Most people are also unaware of the stringent conditions which must be met for the law of retaliation to be applicable. The Sunnah is full of examples of the Messenger of Allah showing us when the law's preconditions were fulfilled. For example, a thief is only liable to lose his or her hand if the item stolen exceeds a certain value, and if it is proven that the item was taken from its normal resting place. Stealing food is not punishable by the loss of one's hand, and other items are exempt as well. This is just an example of how gingerly the law is applied in Islam.

Finally, another reason advanced for this prevalent misconception is that Islam `spread by the sword'. It should be clear by now that we must always distinguish between the Qur'an and Sunnah from one side and the Muslims from the other when it comes to determining what the Creator has asked of us (because any religion might be misunderstood or mispracticed by its followers). Allah has stated clearly in the Qur'an (translation),

[2:256] There is no compulsion in religion; truly the right way has become clearly distinct from error; therefore, whoever rejects Satan (and what he calls to) and believes in Allah, he indeed has laid hold on the firmest handhold, which shall not break off, and Allah is Hearing, Knowing.

Hence, it is impossible to accept Islam under duress. Even if misguided Muslims were to try to `force' Islam somehow on others, it would not be accepted by the Creator based on this verse.

Historical arguments that try to demonstrate that Muslims did not `convert others by force' are actually secondary to the argument given above. However, it is worth noting that historically, Islam did spread by peaceful means. The Message of the Creator was conveyed to Africa and to southeast Asia by trading Muslims, and today the largest Muslim country in the world is Indonesia. The military expeditions that led to the conquest of large swathes of territory in Europe and central Asia were all marked by tolerance of other creeds and faith.

[13:31] And even if there had been a Quran with which mountains could be moved, or the earth could be cloven asunder, or the dead could be made to speak (it would still not have been other than this Quran). But the decision of all things is certainly with Allah. Have not then those who believe yet known that had Allah willed, He could have guided all mankind?

[28:56] Verily! You guide not whom you like, but Allah guides whom He wills. And He knows best those who are the guided.

So, it is important to bear in mind that Allah declares it IMPOSSIBLE that Islam can be forced on a person, hence it is useless for Muslims to try to guide those who did have the initiative to seek guidance. For God says that it is only He who guides.[13:27] Say: "Verily, Allah sends astray whom He wills and guides unto Himself those who turn to Him in repentance."

Friday, February 9, 2007

The Ten Misconceptions About Islam: Misconception 6

Islam orders the worship of a man because:

    • Muslims are also `Muhammadans'

Early non-Muslim quasi-researchers of Islam called it `Muhammadanism', implying in some way that Muslims worshipped the Messenger of Allah (saas). Hence, the (false) basis for this misconception really emanates from non-Muslims. However, as was described above, a "Muslim" is "one who submits to Allah." The essence of Islam is pure, pure, pure monotheism. Allah says in the Qur'an (translated):

[112:1-4] Say: He is Allah, the One and Only; Allah, the One on whom all depend; He begets not, nor is He begotten. And there is none comparable to Him.

[3:144] Muhammad is no more than a messenger: many Were the messengers that passed away before him. If he died or were slain, will you then turn back on your heels? If any did turn back on his heels, not the least harm will he do to Allah; but Allah (on the other hand) will swiftly reward those who (serve Him) with gratitude.

From the Sunnah, specifically in the study of the Sunnah called Sahih Bukhari, we find:

[9:93:470] Narrated Mu'adh bin Jabal: The Prophet said, "O Mu'adh! Do you know what Allah's Right upon His slaves is?" I said, "Allah and His Apostle know best." The Prophet said, "To worship Him (Allah) Alone and to join none in worship with Him (Allah). Do you know what their right upon Him is?" I replied, "Allah and His Apostle know best." The Prophet said, "Not to punish them (if they do so)."

[4:55:654] Narrated `Umar: I heard the Prophet saying, "Do not exaggerate in praising me as the Christians praised the son of Mary, for I am only a Slave. So, call me the Slave of Allah and His Apostle."

The Ten Misconceptions About Islam: Misconception 5

Islam rejects Jesus because:

    • Jesus is not accepted as `the Son of God'

The Qur'an and Sunnah both teach us emphatically and without any doubt that the Creator considers the statement of the Trinity to be a great falsehood. The Qur'an states (translation):

[19:88-93] They say: "(Allah) the Most Merciful has begotten a son!" Indeed you have put forth a thing most monstrous! At it the skies are ready to burst, the earth to split asunder, and the mountains to fall down in utter ruin, that they should invoke a son for (Allah) the Most Merciful. For it is not consonant with the majesty of (Allah) the Most Merciful that He should beget a son: Not one of the beings in the heavens and the earth but must come to (Allah) the Most Merciful as a servant.

However, the misconception that Jesus is rejected does not follow from the reason given above. It is more precise to say that identifying Jesus as `the Son of God' is rejected. As a Messenger of Allah, Jesus is accorded the same honor that all the Messengers are given, as the following verse attests to (translation),

[2:136] Say (O Muslims): We believe in Allah and that which is revealed to us and that which was revealed to Abraham, and Ishmael, and Isaac, and Jacob, and the tribes, and that which Moses and Jesus received, and that which the prophets received from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them, and to Him we have surrendered. [Arabic "Muslimoon"]

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

The Ten Misconceptions About Islam: Misconception 4

Islam is well-suited only to the Arabs because:

    • most Muslims are Arabs
    • the Qur'an is in Arabic

The first reason for this misconception is far from the truth. Of the more than one billion Muslims around the world, only 18% are Arab. The most populous Muslim country in the world is Indonesia. The second most populous Muslim country is Bangladesh. Neither of these countries is Arab.

Islam is the fastest growing major religion in the world (Encyclopedia Britannica). It has adherents on all the populated continents, and is accessible to Arabs and non-Arabs alike. In the United States, Muslims are expected to become the largest religious minority around the turn of the century, outstripping the Jews.

The universal appeal of Islam to Arabs and non-Arabs comes in spite of the Qur'an being in Arabic. Allah states in the Qur'an that this way of life called Islam is for all people (translation follows),

[21:107] And We (Allah) have not sent you (Muhammad) but as a mercy to the worlds.

[34:28] We have not sent you but as a universal (Messenger) to men, giving them glad tidings, and warning them (against sin), but most men understand not.

Moreover, the Creator does not use the color or mother tongue of people to judge them, be they Arab or not. Instead, it is the level of their awareness of Allah which is the criterion,

[49:13] O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know each other (not that you may despise each other). Verily the most honored of you in the sight of Allah is (he who is) the most righteous of you. And Allah has full knowledge and is well acquainted (with all things)."

The choice of Arabic as the language of the Qur'an is explained very simply and clearly (translation follows),

[41:44] And if We (Allah) had made it a Qur'an in a foreign tongue, they would certainly have said: "Why have not its communications been made clear? What! a foreign (tongue) and an Arab!" Say: It is, to those who believe, a guidance and a healing; and (as for) those who do not believe, there is a heaviness in their ears and it is obscure to them; these shall be called to from a far-off place.

However, it is also important to emphasize that the Qur'an in its revealed form in Arabic is the literal Word of the Creator - but any translation is not. Each translation is more accurately called a translation of an interpretation, for every translator includes his or her own bias.

Monday, February 5, 2007

The Ten Misconceptions About Islam: Misconception 3

In Islam, women are inferior to men because:

    • a man can marry up to 4 wives, a woman can marry only one man
    • a man's share of inheritance is bigger than a woman's
    • a man can marry a non-Muslim, a woman cannot
    • women must wear the veil

This widely held misconception does not remotely follow from the reasons given. The first and most important observation to make about the popular question "Are men and women equal?" is that it is a badly-formed, unanswerable question. The problem which many people conveniently ignore is that "equal" is not defined. This is a very critical point: the equality must be specified with respect to some measurable property. For example, women on average are superior to men if we ask who is shorter in height than the other ("Growth and Development", Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1992). Women are also superior on average if we ask whom do children bond to deeper, mothers or fathers. Women are also superior on average if we ask who has a tendency to socialize more. On the other hand, men are superior on average if we ask who is taller in height than the other. And so on: every question can be turned around, and more importantly these are properties which are irrelevant.

What then, is the really important property which we are worried about in terms of gender equality? Naturally, from the point of view of the Qur'an and Sunnah, the obvious important property is who is dearer to Allah, men or women? This question is emphatically answered in the Qur'an (translation),

[4:124] If any do deeds of righteousness - be they male or female - and have faith, they will enter Paradise, and not the least injustice will be done to them.

[33:35] For Muslim men and women, for believing men and women, for devout men and women, for truthful men and women, for men and women who are patient and constant, for men and women who humble themselves, for men and women who give in charity, for men and women who fast, for men and women who guard their chastity, and for men and women who engage much in Allah's praise, for them has Allah prepared forgiveness and great reward.

The Qur'an and Sunnah repeat over and over again that Allah only favors one person over another based on that person's awareness, consciousness, fear, love, and hope of Allah (the Arabic word is difficult to translate: Taqwa). All other criteria are excluded: gender, ethnic group, country, ancestry, etc.

Given that Allah does not favor one gender over the other in His attention to us (and it helps to remember that Allah is neither male nor female), we can now address the differences between the genders in Islam. First, men and women are not the same as we know. The Creator states in the Qur'an (translation),

[3:36]...and the male is not like the female...

Men and women are different in their composition, and in their responsibilities under Islam. However, both are bound by obligations to one another, especially the following important one which must be understood in any discussion on men and women. From the Qur'an (translation),

[24:32] And marry those among you who are single and those who are fit among your male slaves and your female slaves; if they are needy, Allah will make them free from want out of His grace; and Allah is Ample-giving, Knowing.

In this verse, the Creator emphasizes that marriage is to be vigorously pursued by the Muslims: the state of being single is not to be maintained. With this in mind, we can begin to understand the four reasons cited above for the nonetheless erroneous conclusion.

Men and women are different in their responsibilities towards the families that they are strongly encouraged to set up. Women are not obligated to work, whereas men are obligated. The man must provide for the family, but the woman does not have to spend out of her money for it, though she gets a reward for doing so. Allah says in the Qur'an (translation),

[4:34] Men are in charge of women, because Allah hath made the one of them to excel the other, and because they spend of their property (for the support of women). So good women are the obedient, guarding in secret that which Allah hath guarded. As for those from whom ye fear rebellion, admonish them and banish them to beds apart, and scourge them. Then if they obey you, seek not a way against them. Lo! Allah is ever High, Exalted, Great.

From the Sunnah, specifically in the study of the Sunnah called Sahih Bukhari, we find:

[2:24:545] Narrated `Amr bin Al-Harith: Zainab, the wife of `Abdullah said, "I was in the Mosque and saw the Prophet (p.b.u.h) saying, `O women ! Give alms even from your ornaments.' " Zainab used to provide for `Abdullah and those orphans who were under her protection. So she said to `Abdullah, "Will you ask Allah's Apostle whether it will be sufficient for me to spend part of the Zakat on you and the orphans who are under my protection?" He replied "Will you yourself ask Allah's Apostle ?" (Zainab added): So I went to the Prophet and I saw there an Ansari woman who was standing at the door (of the Prophet ) with a similar problem as mine. Bilal passed by us and we asked him, `Ask the Prophet whether it is permissible for me to spend (the Zakat) on my husband and the orphans under my protection.' And we requested Bilal not to inform the Prophet about us. So Bilal went inside and asked the Prophet regarding our problem. The Prophet (p.b.u.h) asked, "Who are those two?" Bilal replied that she was Zainab. The Prophet said, "Which Zainab?" Bilal said, "The wife of `Adullah (bin Masud)." The Prophet said, "Yes, (it is sufficient for her) and she will receive a double rewards (for that): One for helping relatives, and the other for giving Zakat."

Given that husbands are obligated to provide for wives, and that marriage is a highly recommended goal of Islam, it is easy to see why women's inheritance share is half that of men. We note also that men are obligated to provide a suitable dowry to women on marriage. In fact, it is preferable at this point to speak in terms of husbands and wives instead of men and women. Allah says in the Qur'an (translation),

[4:4] And give women their dowries as a free gift, but if they of themselves be pleased to give up to you a portion of it, then eat it with enjoyment and with wholesome result.

Allah says in the Qur'an (translation),

[2:228]...And they (women) have rights similar to those (of men) over them in kindness, and men are a degree above them...

This one degree in no way affects the position of the Creator in which He has stated that He does not hold women dearer to him than men, or vice versa. Rather it is simply a way of partitioning responsibilities in a household of two adults: someone must make the final decision on daily matters. As will be shown below in a section on a different misconception, though the final decision rests with the husband, it is through mutual consultation that decisions are best reached at.

While men are allowed to marry up to four wives, they are also commanded to meet the preconditions of being able to financially support them. They must also deal with each wife justly and fairly with respect to marital and economic obligations. Allah says in the Qur'an (translation),

[4:3] If ye fear that ye shall not be able to deal justly with the orphans, Marry women of your choice, Two or three or four; but if ye fear that ye shall not be able to deal justly (with them), then only one, or (a captive) that your right hands possess, that will be more suitable, to prevent you from doing injustice.

Moreover, women are allowed to reject any marriage proposal made to her by prospective suitors, thus if she does not feel she can abide by the rules of the Qur'an and Sunnah if she marries a certain person, she can reject his proposal. While it is irrelevant to Islam, it is worthwhile to note that both Judaism and Christianity allow polygamy. The idea is not as foreign to the non-Muslims as is often claimed.

Finally, the wearing of the veil by women is also an illogical premise to claim that women are inferior to men. It is more appropriate to indict a society of female exploitation if it tolerates pornography rather than if it enforces the veil. Given that Allah is neither male nor female, given that He does not endear people to Himself based on their gender, given that the Creator cares about all of us male or female, given that the sexual and violent drive of men is stronger than that of women...given all this, it is illogical to cast a negative light on the following injunctions contained in the Qur'an (translation),

[33:59] O Prophet, tell your wives and daughters and the believing women to draw their outer garments around them (when they go out or are among men). That is better in order that they may be known (to be Muslims) and not be annoyed...

[24:30-31] Say to the believing man that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that will make for greater purity for them; and Allah is well acquainted with all that they do. And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; and that they should not display their beauty and ornaments except what must ordinarily appear thereof; that they should draw their veils over their bosoms and not display their beauty except to their husbands...

On this misconception, there is a great deal more to write, most of it showing how current practices in many Muslim lands go against what the Qur'an and Sunnah have ordained, lands in which women are treated as property (unIslamic), are not educated (unIslamic), are forbidden their economic rights (unIslamic), and more. On this point in particular, we encourage everyone to consult the Qur'an and Sunnah before incriminating Islam. Always remember that Islam is a complete way of life from the Creator, and that Muslims are people who claim to follow that way of life. A Muslim may claim to follow Islam, but be wrong.

Friday, February 2, 2007

The Ten Misconceptions About Islam: Misconception 2

Misconception 2

In Islam, denial of human rights is OK because:

    • Islam is against pure democracy
    • Islam tolerates slavery

The misconception does not follow from the reasons given, and the reasons ignore a great deal of information.

As stated earlier, Islam is a complete way of life. Given this, it is not surprising that the Creator is concerned with the method which we choose to govern ourselves. The preeminent rule which the Islamic state must observe is stated in the Qur'an (translation follows):

[4:59] O you who believe! Obey Allah, and obey the Messenger, and those charged with authority among you. If you differ in anything among yourselves, refer it to Allah and His Messenger, if you do believe in Allah and the Last Day; That is best, and most suitable for final determination.

From this verse, it is clear that the state's obligation of obedience to the Creator is as important as the obedience of the individual. Hence, the Islamic state must derive its law from the Qur'an and Sunnah. This principle excludes certain choices from the Islamic state's options for political and economic systems, such as a pure democracy, unrestricted capitalism, communism, socialism, etc. For example, a pure democracy places the people above the Qur'an and Sunnah, and this is disobedience to the Creator. However, the best alternative to a pure democracy is a democracy that implements and enforces the Shari'ah (Islamic Law).

The Creator also states in the Qur'an (translated):

[42:36-38] So whatever thing you are given, that is only a provision of this world's life, and what is with Allah is better and more lasting for those who believe and rely on their Lord, and those who shun the great sins and indecencies, and whenever they are angry they forgive, and those who respond to their Lord and keep up prayer, and their rule is to take counsel among themselves, and who spend out of what We have given them.

Allah orders us in this verse to conduct our matters by taking counsel among ourselves, or by consulting each other. This is the methodology of the Islamic state, to consult one another, but to always keep the Qur'an and Sunnah paramount. Any law which contradicts the Qur'an or Sunnah is unlawful. This broad principle of consultation is certainly wide enough to encompass a form of government where all are heard - in fact, encouraged to be heard. The early Islamic states were of this form. The petty governments of many `Muslim countries' today do not apply this principle and in fact commit many crimes against the people.

As for slavery, Islam is unique among the `religions' in its close attention to the peaceful removal of this practice. Before the advent of Islam, slavery was widespread all over the world. The Messenger of Islam taught us that freeing slaves was a great deed in the sight of Allah. From the Sunnah, specifically in the study of the Sunnah called Sahih Bukhari, we find:

[3:46:693] Narrated Abu Huraira: The Prophet said, "Whoever frees a Muslim slave, Allah will save all the parts of his body from the (Hell) Fire as he has freed the body-parts of the slave." Said bin Marjana said that he narrated that Hadith to `Ali bin Al-Husain and he freed his slave for whom `Abdullah bin Ja'far had offered him ten thousand Dirhams or one-thousand Dinars.

Also from the Sunnah, specifically in the study of the Sunnah called Malik's Muwatta, we find:

[38:9:15] Narrated Aisha Ummul Mu'minin: The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, was asked what was the most excellent kind of slave to free. The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, answered, "The most expensive and the most valuable to his master."

The Creator has also made it easy for slaves to gain their freedom. From the Sunnah, specifically in the study of the Sunnah called Sahih Bukhari, we find:

[3:46:704] Narrated Abu Huraira: The Prophet said, "Whoever frees his portion of a common slave should free the slave completely by paying the rest of his price from his money if he has enough money; otherwise the price of the slave is to be estimated and the slave is to be helped to work without hardship till he pays the rest of his price."

The condition of slavery is very different in Islam than the harsh conditions imposed by non-Muslims or disobedient Muslims. From the Sunnah, specifically in the study of the Sunnah called Sunan Abu-Dawud, we find:

[41:4957] Narrated AbuHurayrah: The Prophet (saw) said: None of you must say: "My slave" (abdi) and "My slave-woman" (amati), and a slave must not say: "My lord" (rabbi or rabbati). The master (of a slave) should say: "My young man" (fataya) and "My young woman" (fatati), and a slave should say "My master" (sayyidi) and "My mistress" (sayyidati), for you are all (Allah's) slave and the Lord is Allah, Most High.

Also from the Sunnah, specifically in the study of the Sunnah called Sahih Bukhari, we find:

[3:46:721] Narrated Al-Ma'rur bin Suwaid: I saw Abu Dhar Al-Ghifari wearing a cloak, and his slave, too, was wearing a cloak. We asked him about that (i.e. how both were wearing similar cloaks). He replied, "Once I abused a man and he complained of me to the Prophet. The Prophet asked me, `Did you abuse him by slighting his mother?' He added, `Your slaves are your brethren upon whom Allah has given you authority. So, if one has one's brethren under one's control, one should feed them with the like of what one eats and clothe them with the like of what one wears. You should not overburden them with what they cannot bear, and if you do so, help them (in their hard job)."

As a result of the teachings of Islam, slavery was almost completely eradicated from many areas of the Muslim world, peacefully and without bloodshed.